Ever wonder what those lime-yellow ambulances are that started showing up on Tennessee roads in 1999? That’s HELP, and they’re there to – well – help!
HELP consists of emergency medical personnel seeking to be the first responders when drivers are in desperate need of assistance. The staff in the vans are highly qualified paramedics one step below the EMTs you’d find in a hospital ambulance. Their goal is to be first on the scene of an accident to secure the scene and stabilize anyone who is injured.
According to research on traffic congestion, 20 percent of all freeway crashes are secondary, meaning that they occur as the result of blocked roadways from previous incidents. One of HELP’s purposes is to help prevent these secondary collisions and assist responders and victims of primary collisions by keeping traffic flowing away from and around accident sites.
The HELP program started in Nashville and Knoxville in 1999 and spread to Chattanooga and Memphis the next year. The response to the HELP program was so positive that the organization was asked to help with traffic control for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
HELP THEM HELP YOU
The HELP operators provide a valuable service to Tennessee motorists, but they also put their lives on the line doing so. On Christmas Eve, a HELP operator was assisting a family on Interstate 40 with a flat tire when he was struck by a vehicle crossing onto the shoulder. He passed away on January 2.
If you see one of their big yellow ambulances stopped on the side of the road, be safe. Slow down, move over into a further lane and pay attention to the road ahead. Don’t rubberneck to get a view of the scene. This helps protect them – and you – from personal injury and wrongful death.
Micah 4:4, “But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.”